Over the past few days, the news about the LHC possibly discovering (or even confirming, in some sources!) a new kind of matter has popped up on quite a few websites — blogs, science news sites, Twitter, Google+, Reddit, elsewhere on Reddit, you name it. Of course, I was writing about this before it was cool :-) I reported the discovery of the ridge presented by CMS at the High pT LHC Physics Workshop. Back then it wasn’t clear that anyone really knew what was going on, but of course that important fact got lost in the hype.
As I posted in a more recent update, there is a lot of speculation that this ridge might have something to do with something called the color glass condensate (CGC). This is what so many sites are calling the new state of matter that the LHC has supposedly discovered. Well, I actually know something about this! Sort of. The CGC is an incredibly complex mathematical model, but it is somewhat closely related to what I work on, so I figured I could try to explain what’s going on in some more detail.
All this starts with the question: what’s …